Men ruft mikh milyon

As far as Botwinik knows, the poem ‘Men ruft mikh milyon’ (I am called million), with lyrics by Shmerke Kaczerginski set to music by David Botwinik, has been published for the first time in From Holocaust to Life: New Yiddish Songs.

The above translation (by Naomi Cohen, Leybl Botwinik, and Alexander Botwinik) together with the original Yiddish text and complete musical score can be found in the book From Holocaust to Life:  New Yiddish Songs. See

Bakant aykh gevezn a mol iz mayn nomen,
Nit fregt itst ver bin ikh, nit fregt.
Ikh hob nit keyn nomen, ikh hob nor a numer,
Mayn numer iz dray, akht, finf, zeks.

In geto, mayn nomen gevezn iz Yude,
Di late geven iz mayn fon.
Tseshokhtn mayn folk iz, deriber muz yederer
Zayn itster vi a milyon.

Fun umetum ikh kum,
Kh'bin umetum geven,
Fun umetum mayn brum
Hot ir gehert, gezen:
Gezen in krematoryum,
Gezen mikh in katset,
Un vi der Es-Es-shtivl
Tret af mir un tret.

Nor nit dervorgn hot men mikh
Un nit fargazt, farbrent   —
Ikh bin fun dem gehenem
Aroys fun merders hent.
Aher mayn alte fon, aher mayn alte fon,
Men ruft mikh itst milyon, milyon.

Ot ze ikh fun griber es geyen milyonen,
Zey geyen durkh tog un durkh nakht.
Zey veynen nit, shrayen nit,
Undz nor zey monen,
Zayt ir di milyonen in shlakht!

To lomir zhe itster, di eyntsik farblibene,
Oysfirn zeyer farzog:
Far folk un far land, lomir itst far milyonen
Zey brengen dos likht funem tog.

My name was once known to you,
Don't ask me who I am, don't ask.
I have no name, I have only a number,
My number is three, eight, five, six.

In the ghetto, my name was Jude,
The yellow star was my flag.
My people were slaughtered,
Now each of us must be like a million.

From everywhere I come,
And everywhere I went,
From everywhere my roar
You heard, you saw:
Saw in the crematorium,
Saw me in the camps,
And how the SS boot
Steps on me and stomps. 

But I was not strangled
Nor gassed, nor incinerated —
Out of this hell
I emerged from the murderer's hands.
Come to me, my old flag, come to me,
I am now called million, million.

I see from the graves millions walking,
They’re walking all day and all night.
They’re not crying, not screaming,
They only beseech us,
You be the millions in battle!

So let us now, the sole survivors,
Carry out their petition:
For our people and our land,
Let us now for the millions
Bring them the light of day.